Around ATL: What to do in February

We are officially through our first month of 2016 and man, did it fly by. I mean, I literally feel like it was just last night that I was drinking champagne like it was my job to ring in the new year.

I’m excited about this time of year because there’s so many fun things going on, especially here in Atlanta. Between the festivals, concerts, wine dinners and more, you can pretty much plan out every weekend for the next couple of months – and if you know me, you know I’m already three steps ahead. So – why not help you guys do the same?! I don’t want anyone having FOMO so I’ve put together a list of some of the best events in Atlanta this February. Chances are you’ll see me at, like, all of them.

Friday, Feb. 5th – Celebrate the one-year anniversary of Colletta, Avalon’s hot spot for Italian food & wine

It may be OTP, but Colletta – and Avalon itself – are worth driving the extra distance. To celebrate their 1st year in business, they’re offering a $35 3-course menu and $5 wine and beer all night. Can you say “neverending Happy Hour?” More info here.

Colletta Anniv

Wednesday, Feb. 10th – #TreatYourself with some of life’s greatest indulgences: cookies and craft beer

One of Atlanta’s favorite breweries, Sweetwater, is taking things to another level by hosting a Girl Scout cookie and beer pairing to make your hump day a little sweeter. More info here.

sweetwater pairings

Saturday, Feb. 13th – Get ‘shucked up’ at Park Tavern’s Oysterfest

Complete with live music, ice-cold beer and oysters galore, this is an event you won’t want to miss. More info here.

oysterfest

Sunday, Feb. 21st – Drink more beer at Sweetwater Brewery’s 19th anniversary party

It’s no secret that Atlanta appreciates its beer, and there’s really no better place to be on a beautiful, sunny day in Atlanta than on Sweetwater’s patio with a cold brewski in hand. A $25 ticket gets you a *special* 19th anniversary glass + 10 tasting tickets. More info here.

sweetwater 19th

Saturday & Sunday, Feb. 27th & 28th – …And eat more oysters at Steamhouse Lounge’s Oysterfest

For only $10 a day, why wouldn’t you? Another day filled with live music, ice-cold beers and delicious oysters. Obviously. More info here.

steamhouse fest

Healthy Halloween Treat: Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Clusters

Happy Halloween! If you’re like me, you’re just a littttle too old to be trick or treating. My plans tonight consist of a bottle of wine, Hocus Pocus on the couch, and these stupid-easy dark chocolate sea salt clusters in celebration of this spooky holiday. Seriously, these are the easiest things ever to make, but sooo good and way healthier than your average candy bar.

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Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1c dark chocolate chips or chunks
  • 1tsp. coconut oil
  • Shredded unsweetened coconut
  • Sliced almonds
  • Sea salt

Prep

  1. Melt the coconut oil and dark chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals until fully melted (mine took about 3 tries – make sure you don’t overcook it.)
  2. Place a piece of parchment paper on a plate, baking sheet, etc.
  3. Drop spoonfuls of the melted chocolate onto your parchment paper – you should be able to make about 12 clusters.
  4. Sprinkle each cluster with a little bit of unsweetened coconut, a few shredded almonds and top with a tiny, tiny bit of sea salt.
  5. Pop them in the freezer for about 1 hour, or until hardened.

And it’s as simple as that – Enjoy, boys & ghouls!

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A Pink & Gold Bridal Brunch

Our twenties are filled with lots of exciting moments – from milestone birthdays to moving up in our careers to engagements and weddings, these are definitely times we will look back on with fond memories.

When my best friend of 10 years got engaged, I knew I had to help throw her the most perfect bridal shower ever. Three of her bridesmaids, including myself, along with my Mom served as the hostesses and were excited to plan a magical day in her honor. We agreed to do a pink and gold bridal brunch and began the planning process.

First things first: venue and decor. It was an easy decision to throw it at my parents’ house in Tampa, where we had total creative freedom with our decor and could save a little money to put towards other things at the shower. We hung light pink and white lanterns paired with pink tulle and gold paper poufs to create the perfect ambiance. My talented mom cut out little sayings from foam board and painted them glittery gold, created tassel banners, cut out props for our photobooth and even created balloon columns.

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Balloon column, courtesy of my mom.

We had photos printed of the adorable couple and placed them in various gold and white frames throughout the house, paired with printed quotes and coasters.

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Obviously, the most important part (duh) food and (double duh) drinks was carefully planned out. We decided to prepare all of the food ourselves. A little ambitious, you might think, but I highly recommend doing this over booking a caterer if you’re throwing a shower in the future and want to save yourself, like, a ton of money. It really was not difficult, just a little time-consuming. Thank goodness for my mom’s sweet friends who came over to help boil chicken and chop eggs… glamorous, I know.

Our spread consisted of mini blueberry muffins, fruit salad, quiches, creme brulee’ French toast bake (HEAVEN), a charcuterie platter, egg salad sandwiches, cucumber cream cheese roll-ups and chicken salad cups. Mixed nuts and snack mixes were also placed in little glass bowls throughout the house. We borrowed serving ware and were able to create a really pretty table set-up fairly easily.

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Now, for the libations: everyone got nice and toasty at the Bubbly Bar, complete with Prosecco, three different juices and berries for topping. Each guest got her own champagne glass, dipped in chalk paint, to write her name on and keep as a “goodie bag” and we obviously had cutesy little paper straws, strategically placed in each glass, too.

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Expert Tip from Mom: Instead of dipping the glasses in the chalk paint, use a paint brush to paint it on the bottom of the glass to avoid the paint looking clumpy or not drying properly.

champs

A few bottles of Pinot Grigio and Rose’ made an appearance, too, for when we all started to get sick of champagne. For the *responsible* ones, we had iced tea with lemons and strawberry-cucumber-mint infused water, which was a total hit.

wines

My personal favorite part was the dessert table (obviously). I’m sorry, but we had the most beautiful cake I’ve ever seen. Pink ombre’ with tiny, edible pearls, topped with the cutest cake topper made by one of the hostesses. Mom got a little excited and ordered an additional 24 cupcakes with the same look, and we also had wedding cookies, Texas Sheet Cake bites, Carrot Cake and chocolate-covered strawberries. Needless to say, we were all a little full after, but in the best way.

unnamed2Sweet, sweet sugar rush.

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Once the flowers came into the mix, my dad thought we were putting on a full-on wedding. I mean, can you blame a girl for going a littttle over the top? We had a beautiful mix of white and pink daisies, roses, carnations and hydrangeas which we methodically arranged into mason jars.

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In addition to the chalk paint champagne glasses mentioned earlier, we had these adorable little treats for guests to grab on their way out. Super cute and super cheap to make.

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For games, we obviously had to include the toilet paper wedding dress game  – it’s pretty much a bridal shower staple. We also came up with a series of questions for the bride and groom, had him video tape himself answering them and for every question she answered incorrectly based on his answers, she had to put a piece of gum in her mouth. When games and gifts were over, guests headed to our photo booth for some fun.

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All in all, planning a bridal shower can seem like a lot at the get-go (thank god for mothers). But, the day turned out absolutely beautiful and (humble brag) the bride-to-be was pretty impressed, too. If you’re planning a bridal shower for a friend or family member in the near future, my main tip would be to cut costs where you can and get creative. As I said earlier, the little things are what totally bring your shower to life. Have fun with it – and I’m sure whoever you’re throwing it for will love it regardless, simply because of the effort you’re putting in to give them such a special day.

Now it’s time to plan the Bachelorette party! Penis straws, anyone?